Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your history?
Hi, I'm Sarah and I'm a 31 year old mum of one. I suppose it started when I was a teenager and used to run for a local club, so I was always pretty slim and trying to be healthy. In my early 20's I started going to the gym but wasn't really sure what I was doing; really I was just balancing a bad lifestyle with a bit of exercise!
Then, at 25 I found Muay Thai and it's safe to say I became addicted.
If I had to describe myself at 30, I'd say I was what I would call "skinny fat", I was never any bigger than a size 12 but I didn't have any shape and had quite a lot of cellulite on my legs and bum. Although fit, I lacked muscle and shape.
When and why did you decide to enter a bikini show?
I had my son in 2012 and after struggling to regain my tummy I'd had enough and decided that I wanted to change my body permanently. I needed a goal and decided that a bikini competition would be the perfect fit and challenge for me. I am quite a goals driven person and thought that having a set date would help make sure I did it.
How would you describe your experience of prepping with Body By Control?
My experience with Body By Control has been and continues to be brilliant. My calories and macronutrient targets were achievable and never drastic. While that might not sound like much but I have seen some bikini girls doing some really crazy things to get lean!
Paul was fully supportive during my prep and especially when I was going through some of the tougher times he always responded quickly and helped keep me sane!
How does that compare to previous preps you may have done?
My previous prep was very strict and restrictive, I managed to hit my macros but this was through determination and wasn't enjoyable. I felt that I lost quite a lot of my hard work during my peak week and was too depleted on stage. I didn't look my best on stage but had managed to change my body shape in the 6 months before that.
do you have Any Advice for anyone thinking about entering a Bikini show?
My advice to anyone looking to compete would be to do your research on your coach, speak to people they train and ask questions about their approaches to prep. There are so many crazy coaches roaming around prepping people with insane methods that are not backed by any research and can be really detrimental to you! Secondly it's not easy so be prepared to work your arse off, but I promise you will reap the benefits if you do!
What did a typical week look like for you during your prep?
I train in the mornings when my son is at school so that I don't take time away from spending with him. During prep a typical week consisted of:
- 5 weights sessions lasting 60-90mins
- Between 1-2 HIIT sessions
- Between 1-2 LISS sessions
On the food front my macros were higher on some days and lower on others. I prepped most of my lunches and snacks 2-3 days in advance so that I found it easier to stay on track. If I was out with friends I simply took food with me or made sure that I could track my food in the restaurants we went to.
Honestly my lifestyle wasn't really affected hugely by prep; I fit training around my life and still enjoyed doing all the things I usually do (except eating doughnuts - I could only fit these in without being starving on a refeed day!)
How important do you think it is to have a supportive team around you?
I'm very lucky to be surrounded by people that have a similar mentality to me when it comes to food and training. This really makes it easier to be in social situations with them as they understand the discipline that goes into prep.
If you don't have a network of people yet, find one as they really are the people that pick you up when you fall and help support & encourage you during the tougher times. The Body By Control Online Group were lovely throughout and so helpful to me without even realising it.
What do you think you did well and what will you look to improve next time out?
I was over the moon with my prep & body package, I wouldn't of changed a thing. The only competition I have is myself so my goal next time is to improve on what I brought to the stage. The goal is progress not perfection!
A Coach's View
First of all I want to say congratulations to Sarah for winning her Pro Card at Pure Elite after placing 2nd in the Mums That Lift category and 5th in Bikini Tall. To do so in only her second ever competition is a really great achievement.
I honestly couldn't have been prouder watching her; she beamed from ear to ear during the presentation and getting to share in that moment is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
Coaching a client during prep gives you a pretty unique insight into the life of a person. You get to see how they handle everything from challenges and setbacks to successes and PB's. They can go from high one minute to stressing out the next. The pressures from family & friends combined with hunger, stress and a crap load of small things you won't have thought of before hand can make this too much for some people.
As a tip to anyone reading this, make sure you're in the right place before starting prep. It inevitably requires your focus and dedication so don't do yourself a disservice by doing it before you're ready.
Well Sarah experienced plenty of worries and concerns, an illness, the odd setback and plenty of hunger along the way (as we all do) but if the measure of a person lies not in how they handle the easy stuff but in how they handle the struggle, then I can honestly say that Sarah casts a pretty large shadow. She always perseveres, even through the doubts (and the odd tear). This is one of the many qualities that make her such a wonderful person to coach and know.
Also, as she mentioned, she does Muay Thai, which is bad-ass enough in itself without mentioning that her partner also happens to be a World Champion...so I'm pretty sure if I said anything bad about her she'd kick my face off through my throat!
The other thing I'd like to mention about Sarah is how helpful and interactive she is with the other Body By Control group members; whether it's sharing recipes, offering pep talks & advice or generally sharing in the group abuse I seem to engender, she's a leader by example without ever seeming aloof or unapproachable, a rare and enviable quality.
This is obviously the only time I'm going to say nice things about you Smith so enjoy it! Congratulations again and I can't wait to see what you bring to the stage next time out.